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Wainscott Group Moves to Block Wind Cable Landing

Wed, 12/22/2021 - 16:57

Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott asked the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division on Monday to block the installation of a transmission cable connecting the South Fork Wind Farm to the electric grid until the court ruled on the group’s appeal of what it calls the state’s improper approval of its route through the hamlet.

The wind farm’s developers, Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Eversource Energy, have said that onshore construction of the cable could begin as soon as next month, following the Public Service Commission’s November approval of the developers’ environmental management and construction plan. The wind farm’s 12 turbines are to be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point.

The citizens group, which tried last winter to force a vote on forming an incorporated village of Wainscott from a portion of the hamlet in order to thwart the cable landing there, argues that the wind farm’s land-based infrastructure poses “an unprecedented danger to the community,” according to a statement issued on Monday. East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc found the group’s petition for a vote to create a village legally insufficient, following a public hearing on the matter.

The town and the town trustees have both agreed with the developers to land the wind farm cable at the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane, from which it would travel approximately 4.1 miles underground to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton, from which it would connect to the electrical grid.

Michael McKeon, a spokesman for the citizens group, said in its statement, “We have worked hard to show the developers, the town, and the state that there are better route alternatives — consistent with how every other wind farm in America has proposed to land its cable — but to date political expedience and money have driven the decisions. We are the only party who hired independent environmental, engineering, and transmission experts who have laid out alternatives that avoid residential neighborhoods. But the rush to get this project completed simply to say ‘we were first’ has forced us to take this step. We continue to believe a fair hearing on the merits will result in a better project that we can all support.”

The citizens group argued unsuccessfully for alternative cable landings at state-owned land at Hither Hills in Montauk, or at Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett. By approving the Beach Lane route, the group said, the state commission “rubber-stamped a route, worked out by the developer and the town in their discussions, that is affirmatively harmful to the environment and poses undue hazards to the residents who live adjacent to the route.”

The group stated in its court motion that the developers failed to conduct agreed-upon soil and groundwater testing, without which they say construction along the cable’s underground route will exacerbate perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances’ contamination of the surrounding environment. Perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, have been detected around East Hampton Airport. 

A spokeswoman for Orsted and Eversource said the developers declined to comment on the citizens group’s move.

 

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